RUSSIA: Freedom of religion or belief – Special bimonthly FORB (01-15.06.2021)
15.06.21 – One of convicted Jehovah’s Witness, Artyom Bagratyan, was released after serving his entire sentence for faith
Full text only in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/160838.html
On June 15, 2021, Artyom Bagratyan left the pre-trial detention center and was released. About two weeks earlier, the Industrial District Court of Kursk sentenced the the believer to 2.5 years in prison, but Artyom had already served this term while in custody.
11.06.21 – Police raids Jehovah’s Witnesses in Asha, Chelyabinsk Region
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/111403.html
On June 11, 2021, in the town of Asha, Chelyabinsk Region, several apartments of local believers were searched. After interrogations, the believers were released.
10.06.21 – Novokuznetsk: Law enforcement officers search elderly people, suspecting them of worshiping Jehovah’s God
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/100823.html
On June 8, 2021, in the city of Novokuznetsk law enforcement officers raided 3 houses of believing pensioners, as well as another apartment whose residents are not Jehovah’s Witnesses.
10.06.21 – Navalny backers see cautionary tale in Russian raids on Jehovah’s Witnesses
The decision by a Moscow court to declare Alexei Navalny’s nationwide political organisation as “extremist” adds the group to a list associated with terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and Islamic State.
09.06.21 – RUSSIA: More jailed after “extremist organisation” trials – list
As of 9 June, 20 Jehovah’s Witnesses and 1 Muslim convicted on extremism-related criminal charges are in jail or in detention awaiting appeals. Another Jehovah’s Witness is under house arrest and will be jailed if her appeal fails. Another Muslim who met with others to study Nursi’s works is in detention awaiting deportation after serving his jail term. Twice as many prisoners of conscience are serving sentences or are in detention awaiting appeals for exercising freedom of religion or belief as in November 2020.
07.06.21 – New searches of believers in the Khabarovsk Territory. Jehovah’s Witness, 49, placed under house arrest after 2 days behind bars
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/071554.html
On June 5, 2021, searches took place in the working village of Solnechny (Khabarovsk Territory). A criminal case was initiated. 49-year-old Boris Yagovitov was detained and placed in a temporary detention facility.
07.06.21 – RUSSIA: Oldest Jehovah’s Witness – and first woman – jailed
In July 2020, Valentina Baranovskaya suffered a stroke. In February 2021, Abakan City Court jailed the 70-year-old for two years to punish her for meeting fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses for worship, a verdict her lawyer described as “devoid of all sympathy and compassion”. Her son was jailed for six years. Baranovskaya is the oldest – and first female – Jehovah’s Witness to be jailed since Russia banned all their activity. Two in their sixties – Yury Savelyov and Aleksandr Ivshin – are serving long jail terms.
07.06.21 – Former Dachau Concentration Camp Inmates Call on Putin to Stop Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/071504.html
On May 16, 2021, the Lagergemeinschaft Dachau Association, founded by former prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp, sent an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin condemning the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia.
05.06.21 – Museum of Christian Culture opens in St. Petersburg
A testament to the liturgical history of the Orthodox Church down through the centuries. Artefacts of St Nicholas on loan from Bari Cathedral. The visual language of the icon is enhanced. Other “cultural mission” initiatives have been launched along the Golden Ring of the ancient Russian capitals.
04.06.21 – Russian Church blessings for weapons
Those used by Orthodox Christians “in the fulfilment of war duty”. Some clergy also defend the blessing of nuclear weapons. Patriotic-military commitment is decisive in the tradition of Russian orthodoxy.
04.06.21 – Jehovah’s Witnesses detained in inhumane conditions
Link to full text in Russian: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4847070
A court in Kursk has completed consideration of a criminal case of extremism involving five adherents of the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which is forbidden in Russia. Four of them received real time in prison and one received a suspended sentence. Taking into account detention in a SIZO, at the present moment three men remain in custody. The convicts do not admit guilt and consider themselves to be victims of political repression.
04.06.21 – In Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Nikolay Aliyev received 4.5 years of suspended sentence for his faith in God
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/041326.html
On June 4, 2021, the judge of the Central District Court of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Natalya Gurkova, found Nikolay Aliyev, 42, guilty of involvement and participation in the activities of an extremist organization. He received a suspended sentence of 4 years and 6 months with restriction of freedom for 1 year and 2 months.
03.06.21 – In Kursk, a court sentenced five believers. Four of them, including a woman, were assigned from 2 to 4.5 years in prison
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/06/031523.html
On June 3, 2021, the Kursk Industrial District Court sentenced 5 Jehovah’s Witnesses for their religion. Andrey Andreev was sentenced to 4.5 years in a colony, Andrey Ryshkov in the form of 3 years in a colony, Artem Bagratyan in the form of 2.5 years in a colony, his wife, Alevtina, in the form of 2 years in a colony.
02.06.21 – Number of Jehovah’s Witnesses on trial in Lipetsk grows
Link to full text in Russian: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4838718
The directorate of the S.K.P. [Russian Investigative Committee] for Lipetsk oblast has opened a criminal case with respect to two organizers of a subdivision of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (ruled in the R.F. to be extremist and forbidden). The agency noted that the subjects are suspected of arranging the activity of an extremist organization (part 1 of article 282.2 CC RF, up to ten years incarceration).
01.06.21 – Christian attorney gives advice for staying on good side of law
Link to full text in Russian: http://www.sclj.ru/news/detail.php?SECTION_ID=536&ELEMENT_ID=8370
The city of Ulianovsk is renown for the large number of cases connected with holding [persons] administratively accountable for so-called cases of illegal evangelism. I defended a church here for the first time in 2017, and we had to traverse the long path to the Supreme Court in order to prove our position of innocence and to get a decision of acquittal.
01.06.21 – The Court in Mari El sentenced Ekaterina Pegasheva to 6.5 years suspended for reading the Bible and talking about God
Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/https://hrwf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Russia-2021.pdfnews/2021/06/011031.html
On May 31, 2021, the judge of the Gornomariyskiy District Court of the Republic of Mari El, Nikolay Aiplatov, found 31-year-old Ekaterina Pegasheva guilty of extremism and sentenced her to 6 years and 6 months of probation with a probation period of 4 years.